Where does the Queen live? Inside Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral

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As monarch, the Queen uses a number of royal residences throughout the year. While her key base is Buckingham Palace, she has a vast array of options to chose from – whether its a countryside getaway in Norfolk to a castle fit for a Queen in Windsor. The Queen’s main headquarters is Buckingham Palace in London, which boasts an incredible 775 rooms and even has it’s own postcode – SW1A 1AA.

The residence is used by the Queen to meet politicians and diplomats from around the world, and it is where the monarch usually hosts state banquets.

The property includes 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

The Palace is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 metres high.

There are 1,514 doors and 760 windows- each of which is cleaned every six weeks.

While the rest of us may think we’d never tire of such an opulent home, the Queen frequently takes a break from the Palace and visits one of her other properties out of the capital.

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Sandringham House

In Norfolk, Sandringham House is the Queen’s private home, and the Sandringham Estate is known to be especially significant for the Queen.

The Queen visits Sandringham at Christmas every year, and she is usually joined by many other members of her family.

The Queen tends to leave in early February after spending some time with Prince Philip, as this is when her father King George VI died at Sandringham in 1952.

The property came into the family when Queen Victoria bought the house in 1862 for £220,000.

Once described as ‘the most comfortable in England’, the property was one of the first to boast a shower and flushing toilets.

But despite being set in 600 acres of woodland, the house is small by royal standards.

Quarters are said to be ‘cramped’ and the Queen has previously ‘ran out of room’ at Christmas, with relatives forced to sleep in servants quarters.

The main ground floor rooms are open to the public when the Queen is not in residence.

And the Sandringham Estate frequently has properties available for rent to those who work locally, including Flitcham Hall country house which boasts 6 bedrooms 3, reception rooms, 3 attic rooms and a wine cellar and costs £3,750 per month.

Windsor Castle

At weekends, Windsor Castle is not too far away for the Queen to make regular visits – and it’s said to be her favourite residence.

Located in Berkshire, the area the castle is situated in was chosen by William the Conqueror, and he started to build Windsor in around 1070.

Now, almost 1,000 years later, the Queen takes up official residence in Windsor Castle for a month over Easter, and usually for a period in June for the Order of the Garter and the Royal Ascot race meeting.

With an incredible 1,000 rooms, Windsor is the largest (occupied) castle in the world.

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Holyrood Palace

The Queen’s official Scottish residence is Holyrood Palace, which was originally founded as a monastery in 1128.

The Queen typically stays here for the first week of the summer for an event known as “Holyrood Week.”

The rooms are open to the public including the 17th-century former King’s apartments and Great Gallery, and the 16th-century apartments in the north-west tower.

The Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace, is decorated with 110 Scottish monarchs and is where Bonnie Prince Charlie would hold evening balls.

The gardens of the palace extend to some 10 acres.

The ghost of Agnes Sampson, who was stripped and tortured in 1592 after being accused of witchcraft, is said to roam the house naked.


Another Scottish residence is also known to be a firm favourite with the Royal Family – Balmoral.

Balmoral Castle is located on the Queen’s wide-spanning Balmoral Estate, and it is here the Queen spends her summers.

Every year members of the Royal Family come up to join the Queen and Prince Philip at Balmoral, and the family engages in pursuits like shooting and hiking across the countryside.

The castle boasts 50,000 acres of land and has a staggering 52 bedrooms.

When the Queen is not in residence, you can visit the grounds and garden for £9.

Balmoral is estimated to be worth £155 million.

Hillsborough Castle

The Queen’s residence in Northern Ireland is Hillsborough Castle, and other royals also use the residence when they visit Northern Ireland.

The property is also an official government residence used by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

The castle is located in Hillsborough, County Down, and was built in the 18th Century.

The home is surrounded by 100 acres of gardens.

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